This just seems right. Marat Safin has been elected to the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.
Speaking about his decision to eschew what could have been a glamorous post-tennis life, the 31-year-old Safin told the ATP Champions Tour that he was looking forward to the challenge.
“This is a completely new life, a new way of thinking, new way of doing things that [have] nothing to do with tennis or sports at all,” Safin said. “But the two things definitely have one thing in common and that is that you need to have a character. You have to be strong and you have to know where you’re going, what you want to do, and you have to be able to make sacrifices.
“I will be working for the next five years day after day, sitting in an office, wearing a suit. I will have good days, bad days and I will have to fight once again like I’ve been fighting on the court. It will be complicated.”
Complicated indeed. Is there really any doubt that the often hot-tempered Russian will succeed in his new career path? James Blake said he was one of the most intelligent guys on Tour, and while many might criticize Safin for a lack of focus or drive during his tennis career, no one would ever say he was short on character. Being a character and having character? The Safin cup runneth over.
To wit, let’s revisit some of Safin’s greatest moments to see if we can glean anything useful that could foreshadow what his political future will hold.
1. Marat Safin understands diplomacy and is willing to do whatever it takes: Would Hilary Clinton do this? Probably not. Marat Safin is a problem solver. He puts the “Kiss” in Kissinger.
2. Marat Safin is loyal: Watch him stand up for his sister, Dinara Safina, in response to the ongoing questions regarding her No. 1 ranking.
3. Marat Safin tells it like it is: Never one to mince his words, Safin, in the face of injustice, speaks out.
4. Marat Safin has no problem challenging authority: “You guys give me a warning because I don’t want to play, I want to sleep. Don’t you see what’s gonna happen? I cannot argue and you guys, you have all the power.” And that’s not even mentioning the “cigars and two chicks” line. Marat Safin will not stand for the corruption of officials.
5. Marat Safin will admit when he’s wrong: With a wink and a smile.
6. Marat Safin was born for this: What was that thing about “character”?